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Volunteer in Guatemala

Volunteer in Guatemala and discover a truly fascinating country...

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Volunteer work in Guatemala

Where help is needed most

If you would like to become a volunteer in Guatemala, there are various volunteer opportunities in Guatemala for you to consider. Of course, your choice is going to depend on both your personal interests and what skills you bring to the table. After all, some of these volunteer opportunities in Guatemala have very specific requirements in regards to your background.

However, there is also volunteer work in Guatemala where it is easier to qualify as a volunteer. If you want to lend a helping hand, you should definitely be able to find the right project here. From protecting Guatemala's wildlife to helping the local people, there is much that you can do to help. Please read on to learn more about the different field of interests that you might like to pursue.

Animal and wildlife conservation

From Guatemala's national bird to Amphibian fish and Jaguars, Guatemala's rich wildlife is one of the main reasons why many tourists come to this country. However, a big a part of the local wildlife population is endangered due to the consequences of global warming, unsustainable tourism, a growing human population and the like. If you are at all interested in becoming a wildlife conservation volunteer in Guatemala, your help at one of the many projects is urgently needed.

In particular, Guatemala is a great place to work as a volunteer in sea turtle protection. Of course, this comes with the added perk that you will be stationed close to the ocean, which means that you will get to enjoy everything that the ocean has to offer in your spare time. As a wildlife conservation volunteer in Guatemala, you might even help in saving the local primate population - it all depends on which volunteer work in Guatemala you will choose!

Support an animal sanctuary

However, it is not just Guatemala's wildlife that needs your help. Instead, there are plenty of small animals without a home that would not stand a chance of survival without your help either. If you are looking to be a little more hands-on and would like to play with the animals that you are trying to protect, volunteering at an animal shelter project in Guatemala might be for you. Play with some adorable dogs that will be incredibly thankful for every minute spent with them.

Of course, feeding these animals and helping in the administration of vet treatments will be part of your job description as a volunteer, too. If you would like to get active in this area, your job as a volunteer in Guatemala will be to find these street animals a new home. Once you see the joy in the eyes of these animals and their new owners when they pick up their furry friends, it will all be worthwhile.

Teaching in Guatemala

One of the areas where Guatemala continues to experience the biggest deficits is education. As such, we would like to suggest that you become an education volunteer in Guatemala. Depending on your preferences, you could become a teacher's aid or work with disabled children.

Moreover, there are several projects and volunteer opportunities in Guatemala that are looking for your help as a kindergarten teacher, too. If you love working with children and are interested in volunteering as a teacher, this line of voluntary work might be just right for you. Most likely, you will even get to choose the age group that you would like to work with. In some cases, being an education volunteer in Guatemala can mean that you will get to enjoy a lot of freedom. In particular, you might get to make up your own lesson plans and thus get to experience what it means to be a real teacher.

Medical and healthcare

A country is only as healthy as its people. If you want to make sure that sick people are receiving the care that they need in Guatemala, then volunteering in this field of interest might be just right for you. You will likely not just be a healthcare volunteer in Guatemala, but take on the role of a volunteer social worker as well.

From large hospitals that have to meet the needs of hundreds of patients every day to small healthcare centers, you will get a say as to where you will be volunteering. If you are either studying medicine or you are training to be a nurse, becoming a healthcare volunteer in Guatemala will be the perfect fit. This is your chance to change and maybe even save the lives of the people in Guatemala!

Support community services

Apart from the volunteer work in Guatemala that we have already mentioned, there are several other ways, in which the local population needs your help. For example, you could help with various construction projects. By becoming a construction volunteer in Guatemala, you can do your part to help build the infrastructure that many of the country's rural communities are lacking. Now you can do your part to make sure that the local community life is not only as rich as can be but offers all of the resources that the local people desperately need.

As a community volunteer in Guatemala, you could potentially be working at a daycare center or become a coach for the local youth. Once again, it is up to you to choose which volunteer program in Guatemala will be the best fit. Or how about working at a shelter for girls and teen moms? If you want to provide the people of Guatemala with a more hopeful outlook on life, you work as a volunteer in Guatemala will go a long way.

Things to know before you volunteer in Guatemala

Before starting your volunteer job in Guatemala, it’s important to think about the cultural norms you’ll need to adjust to. In addition, learn about the precautions you might need to take. The following list might help you with that:

Safety & Precautions

In case this is your first trip to Guatemala, you should keep the following tips in mind in order to stay safe and healthy while volunteering. While all of the volunteer programs in Guatemala have a lot of experience with hosting volunteers, there are some precautions that you might want to consider in order to make your time as a volunteer in Guatemala as pleasant as possible. Before you leave to volunteer abroad, we would like to encourage you to read through the following section:


As a prospective volunteer in Guatemala, you will soon find yourself in a new country, whose people and culture you are not intimately familiar with. In order for you to stay safe at all times, we ask you to take the following precautions:

  • Do not display items of value (cameras, laptops, jewelry, iPads, smartphones, etc.)
  • Store your passport in a safe place and only carry a photocopy of your passport with you
  • Beware of pickpockets in major tourist areas
  • Do not walk around alone after dark
  • Do not walk around desolate areas by yourself
  • Avoid using public ATMs if at all possible
  • Stay away from demonstrations - they can turn violent

Also, keep the traditions and customs of the locals in mind when visiting indigenous Mayan areas and communities. Please be respectful and do not anger the locals to avoid tensions rising.


Regarding your health, you should know that you will likely have to pay for your treatment at the hospital right before or just after you are getting treated. Even if you have insurance that is meant to cover these costs, you will probably have to pay out-of-pocket first and then ask your insurance for a reimbursement of the treatment costs. The following routine vaccinations are also recommended as you are preparing for your time as a volunteer in Guatemala:

  • MMR
  • Diphtheria/ Tetanus/ Pertussis
  • Chickenpox
  • Polio
  • Flu (optional)

Please talk to your doctor to find out which of the following travel medications and vaccinations he/ she also recommends given your individual health history.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Malaria
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies


During the colonial era, Catholicism used to be the official religion of Guatemala. As a prospective volunteer in Guatemala, it should thus not come as a surprise to you that about half of the population (47%) is still Catholic. In addition, another 40% of all Guatemalans are Protestant Christians. About 9% of the population is agnostic or atheist, while the remaining 4% engage in other religious practices.

While Guatemala is a predominantly Christian country, it has no official religion and the constitution even states that everyone has the right to practice their religion both in public and private spaces. Even if you are not a Christian yourself, this should not become a problem during your time as a volunteer in Guatemala.

Who can volunteer in Guatemala?

As you will have noticed by now, there are a lot of different projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their program page, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Guatemala:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old.
  • You need to have basic Spanish and English skills to join a volunteer project in Guatemala. Please note that some teaching projects might ask for more advanced skills though.
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

Visa regulations to volunteer in Guatemala

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for Guatemala.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Guatemalan embassy or consulate in your country.

General immigration information

There are some general requirements volunteers should comply upon their arrival in Guatemala:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. The passport should be valid at least 6 months after your expected return home date. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.
  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. Guatemala requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket for your travel home.